Join Dan Ablan for an in-depth discussion in this video Modeling with Array, part of MODO 501 Essential Training.
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You've seen how all the Clone tools work in the Duplicate tab, but there are some other tools in here that can actually be really helpful when it comes to actually modeling larger sets of objects--and those are the Array tools. So what I am going to do is go to the Basic tab, I am going to select the Sphere tool, and before I add the Sphere, I am going to just bring the Sides down to about 12 and the Segments to about 6. And I will hit Return, and holding the Ctrl key, I will click and drag in the viewport. The reason I brought those sides down is that we are going to replicate this with the Array tool and we don't want it to be too dense; otherwise it's actually going to really slow us down.
So we've got this sphere. What we can do with it? Well, one thing I am going to do, just to make this a little more attractive, is I am going to change the OpenGL view to a reflection. And this reflection shading in here is not a surface property; it's really just a viewport style similar to just going to Wireframe or Solid. It's just a way we are looking at our scene. But I like Reflection because it looks a little more attractive when you are doing large-scale objects. But this is really intended for smoothing out your surfaces.
So if I press the T key for Element Move and I move some part of this around, the reflection shading will actually give me a good idea if I have any little dents or imperfections in my surface that I might not normally see with OpenGL. But it's also just a great way to work if you are not even working about doing something more complex. It's just a nice viewport. So with that said, let's get to the Duplicate tab. And what I would first want to do, we are going to create a pseudo-DNA. Now this is not going to be super accurate, but it will give you a look of DNA.
And we are going to do it with, first, the Array tool. And you will also notice when I move my mouse over, if you hold the Alt key, you'll get an instance array, and we talked about instances and how they are actual copies of your original model. For right now we will stick simple and just click Array, and the Array Generator comes up down at the bottom. And when I click in the viewport, just like all my other tools, it becomes active. This Array allows me to just multiply this object in any axis I want. So it's a terrific way to make a stake of railroad cars or a set of books or anything else you can think of.
But it's also highly interactive, so I can very easily come in here and grab these handles and push and pull and shape these. But at the same time, I can scale them down here in the Property panels. I can select Jitter to just kind of mess them a little bit so they are not all so perfect. And if you look down here at the very bottom, you can also look at some Profile Attributes and Snapping. Now we're not doing any of that for a particular project now. So that's how the Array tool works. So let's go ahead and build something with it.
So I am going to Command+Z to undo a few times, and that will be Ctrl+Z on the PC, and we will click again to activate. And this time I don't want too many wide balls; I actually want them to go straight up, so I am going to come up like this, and we will move our view so you can see what's happened. I don't even think we need 8, maybe more like 6, and then we are going to play with the Jitter. And we will just kind of shake these up a bit on each axis, and that's really all we need for this. This will be one of our strands of DNA, and it's okay if they blend together. That's not really too important.
We can play with the Y a little bit. And just like that, we get a nice randomization. Spacebar turns off that tool, and if you want, you can go to the Polygon mode, double-click on any one of these, press your W key to get your Transform tool, and then you can move and shape these as needed. So that's one set. Now we want to create another one, so I am going to take this ball down at the bottom, select the A key to fit them to view, and we are going to array that again. So we will select Array. We'll click to activate.
We will move this up. And what I am going to do with these is create more of the base around the bottom of this DNA. So we are going to add some balls this way, maybe a few this way, and a couple this way, and again we will just use Jitter and just really kind of shake these up a bit so they don't look so perfect, and then we will take a look at it from all the views, just to see how it's coming along, which is fine. But I want to make sure I am able to select all of these, so I am going to press the spacebar and I am going to hold the Shift key, and I am just going to then right-mouse around the ones I want. And remember how when you are in a shaded mode, you are only going to be able to lasso-select what's in front of you; what's behind will not be selected unless you are in a wireframe.
That's okay. All you can do is press the right bracket key. That's two over from the P on my keyboard, and everything connected to my selection will also be added to my selection. And then I can press my W to get my Transform tool, grab the little dot here to control two axes, and I can just move this over. And it looks like there is a few on the inside that I didn't catch, and that's okay. But we are just creating a base here for these, and then we'll click the blank area to deselect. And I will Shift+ Double-click each one of these that I can still see and W to select Transform, and we will move those down as well.
We can even push them out on the side. Actually, let's do that. So the Array tool allows us to create quite a few more organic shapes and not having to do the whole thing manually. And once I have this whole set done, I can select a few more like this. And then I am going to go to Edit > Copy. Then I will press W for Transform, and we are going to move these over to the other side, and then Edit and Paste. And you can also do Ctrl+V and Ctrl+C, just like you would in a Word program. And with these, I am actually going to press the Y key to select Rotate, and we are just going to rotate these just to keep them a little bit more random. And then I will double-click this one, press W again for Move, and move that over.
So you can see that a lot of the tools we're actually using are very repetitive: our Transform, our Select, our Deselect. Lastly, what I am going to do is right-mouse around these bottoms once like this, then press the right bracket key, two over from the P, to select all of those connected, Shift+V is our Mirror tool, right from the Duplicate tab, and I am going to click and drag to the right and that will duplicate those, but we want them to be on the Y axis so they flip up, and we will turn off the Mirror tool and then click a blank area to deselect.
So there we've got like this little single piece of DNA we can use. And if you feel it this one might be floating too much, you can tighten that up just by selecting it and moving it in. I am going to save this, and we are going to put it right in our exercise files. So if you need this, you are welcome to use it, and we will put this as singledna. The next Array tool, once we've built this, is the Radial Array. I want to click this, again, the Generator comes up at the bottom, and what we are going to do is hold the Alt key and we are going to click and rotate around.
And then I am just going to click right in the interface. You might have to wait a second depending on the strength of your system. You can see how there was a little bit of a delay, and that is also why I created these spheres with less resolution. So I want these to be down that Z axis, so that default generator is fine. I am going to rotate around so you can see what's going on here. And what I am going to do is this Offset, I am going to manually just drag it out. Now, how do I know what size I need? Well, that goes back down here. In the very bottom right it says 1 meter, and what that means is every square in here is 1 meter.
These larger squares you see in my grid, in my interface, those are 10 meters then. So why don't I just put in 10 meters in and press Return? Meters are my default, and so now you can start seeing what we are doing. So let's put this to 100 meters. We'll really stretch that out. And then when I hold the Alt or the Option key and I rotate around, now you can see that we have this radial array going 10 meters into my scene. And how is it rotating? Well, the Start angle was 0, the End angle was 360 degrees, and there are 24 of them replicated over that.
And if you look at these without the reflection, as far as OpenGL shading, you can probably get a little bit better look. And you very easily can start creating some random unique shapes from one simple ball, all with the Array tool. Certainly you can go and surface these and put color image maps on them and give them any kind of look you want. But it's really pretty easy to start working with these tools, just using them one at a time, and they all start with very primitive objects, and you can take it to that next level, creating some really interesting objects. So try out the Array tool to create medical objects, unique organic objects, or even just mechanical objects as needed.
- Understanding surfaces and symmetry
- Editing polygons
- Shaping, deforming, and cloning objects
- Working with text
- Instancing objects
- Applying procedural and image-mapped textures
- Adding bump maps
- Creating reflections
- Working with different light types
- Blending light sources
- Setting up and animating cameras
- Adding and controlling keyframes
- Creating hair textures
- Working with the painting and sculpting tools
- Setting up inverse kinematics
- Exporting a full scene